After facing backlash for refusing to “sanction” a memorial planned by cheerleaders at Bradford High School for their slain teammate, the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) has officially reversed its decision — and the tribute will go on as planned.
Kaylie Juga, of Kenosha, Wisc., was murdered on May 9 — allegedly shot by her ex-boyfriend, fellow student Martice Fuller, 16, according to FOX6. Her fellow cheerleaders had decided to hold a memorial for her at Friday’s game; however, the KUSD announced in a statement on Tuesday that they would not sanction the ceremony in an effort to "remain neutral."
According to the initial statement, KUSD officials, who sought legal advice regarding the memorial, stated they could not sanction any tribute, as they "would be legally required to do so for all students involved,” including Fuller — who also allegedly shot Kaylie’s mother, Stephanie, who survived. Fuller pleaded not guilty on May 24 to the charges associated with the shooting, FOX 6 reported.
CBS58 reports that some wanted to show support for Fuller, and if KUSD would allow a tribute to Kaylie they would, legally, have to extend the same option for Fuller’s friends and family.
In an interview with WLIP, Nick Juga, Kaylie's father, said that Fuller's family wanted his step-brother to wear Fuller’s football jersey as a tribute, which was ultimately not allowed after Nick complained to the school board. Nick informed the station that after Fuller's family heard of the planned memorial dedicated to his daughter, they emailed KUSD stating that both tributes should be allowed, or neither.
The school board's initial decision left Kaylie's family and friends feeling "hurt, angry" and “disgusted,” WISN reported, and news quickly spread on social media, causing further outrage throughout the community.
"Everybody should be entitled to heal," Theresa Munns, a family friend, told FOX6. "Their daughter is gone, and she's never coming back."
According to Munn, Kaylie's family was looking forward to the game.
"This game is Friday, and it meant so much to so many people," a friend of Kaylie, Makayla Falcone, told FOX6. "She touched so many people's lives, and it was supposed to finally be a thing where we all come together and... remember her, and they took it all away."
Kaylie's father Nick, who did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment, voiced his displeasure with the district's decision on Facebook.
"I have been silent for way [too] long," he wrote. "My daughter was the one murdered! And KUSD will not allow her friends and community a moment of silence, or a 5 minute cheer! Nothing she did was wrong!"
On Wednesday, an update was provided to Yahoo Lifestyle from the school district's chief communications officer, Tanya Ruder:
“Upon further consideration, Superintendent Dr. Sue Savaglio-Jarvis and Board President Dan Wade have decided to reverse the decision regarding memorials for Kaylie Juga. Upcoming events will be allowed to occur as planned.”
Ruder confirmed to Yahoo Lifestyle that tributes to Fuller will not be permitted.
Kaylie's friends on Bradford High School's cheerleading team, of which she was a varsity member, plan to wear blue T-shirts — Kaylie's favorite color — perform a short routine, bring her photo onto the field, and hold a moment of silence at Friday’s football game.
Her mother, Stephanie, shared on Facebook, "[Your] voices were heard!! Thank you and we love you all!!"
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